Monday, March 11, 2013

Lifesaving heart procedure expanded (Canada)

Lifesaving heart procedure expanded (Canada)Since its inception in 2009, Sunnybrook's Schulich Heart Centre's TAVI program has provided access to a lifesaving heart procedure for 150 elderly or frail patients not well enough to undergo traditional aortic valve replacement surgery. Now, the centre will not only increase the number of TAVIs performed, but also share its expertise with other Canadian centres to ensure that patients across the country have access to the less invasive procedure. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation, or TAVI, addresses the narrowing of the aortic valve, or "stenosis", a fairly common condition in today's aging population. If left untreated, stenosis can cause the heart muscle to thicken as it works harder to pump blood through the body, potentially leading to heart failure. The procedure takes between two and three hours, about half as long as conventional open-heart surgery for these complex patients, and may be carried out under general or local anaesthesia, with or without sedation. Benefits to patients include reduced pain and less need for postoperative pain medication, smaller scars, a shorter stay in the hospital and a faster recovery. Under the leadership of Dr. Sam Radhakrishnan, Director of the Cardiac Cath Labs and Physician-Lead of Sunnybrook's TAVI program and Dr. Stephen Fremes, surgical lead for the TAVI program, the hospital is guidingtraining for other Canadian hospitals to initiate their own TAVI programs

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